Skip to main content

Three students standing in professional attire, side-by-side
Understand and accept that you will be in a steep learning curve when you start and it may take a few days, weeks or even months for this to level out to a point where you feel comfortable with your tasks and responsibilities.

You’ve done it. After hours of nitpicking your resume, proof reading cover letters and dressing up for who knows how many interviews, you finally landed that position you’ve had your eye on for weeks. Mission Accomplished! Congratulations, you’ve made it.

But wait… the journey is only just beginning. Now you actually have to work at this place that found you impressive enough to hire. Now you need to live up to, and hopefully exceed the expectations you’ve put out there.

Lucky for you, the OLC has tips from SFU students and Co-op Coordinators and Advisors who’ve been there, seen it all and know an employer's perspective.

Jeremy Mamisao, 4th Year SIAT Co-op Student

  • Always be ready to WOW your employers - make sure you do your research and show passion into wanting the job you were interviewed for!

Shauna Tonsaker, Program Director, 
Co-operative Education, SFU Beedie School of Business

  • Brush your teeth, comb your hair, wear deodorant and a smile. 

  • Bring a notebook and pen....and use it to make notes of names, projects, tasks, acronyms, questions.

  • Ask for an organizational chart and/or department chart if it is a large organization.  It helps to have a visual understanding of the context of your co-workers and your own position. 

  • Understand and accept that you will be in a steep learning curve when you start and it may take a few days, weeks or even months for this to level out to a point where you feel comfortable with your tasks and responsibilities.  

  • If you have any questions or concerns that you are not sure how to address or who to talk to, get in touch with your Co-op Coordinator.  They can help you navigate potentially sensitive conversations or situations. 

  • Be prepared to work hard and develop a strong work ethic.

  • Above all bring your good manners to the workplace.

Caroline Wakelin, Co-op Coordinator, Beedie School of Business

  • Ask questions. Don’t blaze through tasks you don’t understand. Don’t be afraid of looking stupid or bothering your employer. Ask questions and ironically you won't look stupid, bother your employer and you'll really know what to do.

  • Try to arrive 15 minutes early and leave 15 minutes late, it’s a way to show your commitment.

  • When you arrive in the morning avoid getting into a big chat with your office mates,  instead go straight to your voice mail and check your email to see if there is anything important you need to attend to right away.

Elizabeth Moffat, SFU Co-op Student

  • Research the company, it’s products, and any current projects as much as possible. That way you’ll be ready to jump in as quickly as possible.

  • If you can, email your supervisor with any questions about dress codes, hours, parking ect. before you start, just a few less things to worry about on your first day. 

What tips do you have for success or concerns do you have for your first day of work?  Share them in the comments below.

visibility  107
Nov 28, 2011

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

tower in ottawa
Increasing Your Chances of Working for the Government

With the stability and the opportunities that a government position provides, it’s not surprising that a lot of students are interested with working for the government. The What Can I Do in Government session gave students an opportunity to network with a panel consisting of alumni, current students and managers who are experienced in working for the public sector. Read on for some insights and tips that the panelists provided!

a portrait image of a woman smiling and looking into a distance
Self Discovery

In the changing labour market there are increased opportunities for seeking your own Co-op placement through a Self-Directed Work Search. In this 3 steps blog series by our career advisor Heather Williams, learn about how to successfully conduct self-directed work search from self-discovering to landing an informational interview.

You Might Like These... Workplace Culture

Image of a Chinese building
Adventures in China with CIBT

Each semester, the International Co-op office posts a multitude of Co-op jobs for students looking to have a unique, some would say life-changing, experience by going to work outside of Canada. Many of the positions open to students from all faculties are for English instructors. Find out more about Ben's experience teaching English in China...

Remote working
Virtual Networking Tips You Should Try at Your Next Webinar Event

Networking in person can be tough but virtual networking online can be even more confusing. Have no fear, Des'ree is here to help! Here she shares her advice and tips for how you can better virtually network at the next webinar social event.

5 Signs You Should Work For A Non-Profit

Many students enter communications with the hopes of landing a glamorous, high-paying job. In this article, Celine makes a case for why you may want to consider a less glamorous, but highly rewarding career in the non-profit sector.